Markham Little Theatre has never been known to rest on its laurels. After a 2016/17 season that has seen the 51-year-old theatre company push the boundaries of its audience and manage to sell more tickets than expected, one could understand if they needed a break. The thing is, that just isn’t how this “little theatre that could” has endured for half a century.
“I like the idea of contributing to entertainment,” says veteran producer Ron Brownsberger. “After an evening performance, I’ll stand near the exit just to hear the comments of patrons. With us, they’re about 98 per cent positive.”
It’s this commitment to their audience that brings MLT back to the stage again and again. This month, they return with Bedroom Farce. Written by Alan Ayckbourn, this show offers a comedic view of mediation on marriage. While the show itself is not a classic farce, it certainly seems to suppose that marriage often can be.
“Our audience loves to laugh, and so do we,” proclaims co-director Michele Browne. “From older couples to newlyweds, this is something to which everyone can relate.”
The show finds four married couples in various stages of crisis and duress, all stemming from an anniversary, a dinner party, old relationships, temptation and absurdity.
“So much of the casting depended on finding the right chemistry between the actors who would play the four couples,” says co-director Angela Stewart. “We are excited to say that we’ve found it.”
“Eight couples, three bedrooms, no sex and no sleep,” laughs Browne.
“There’s a lot of energy,” adds Stewart, “The entire cast all have the same goal; to make our audience laugh out loud.”
The company has begun to embrace its own history more.
“Once in a while we dig out a play we’ve done in the past,” offers Brownsberger, “People loved this one 35 years ago, so I guess it’s due for a remount.”
Less of a remount and more accurately a reimagining, as the production will be entirely new, Bedroom Farce was actually first presented by Markham Little Theatre as part of its 1982 season in the gymnasium at Markham District High School.
“To this day we have audience members who request that we bring this one back,” says Browne, who, herself, performed in the 1982 production. “Our play-reading committee finally considered it for this season’s line-up. When it was accepted, I knew I wanted to direct.”
MLT presents Bedroom Farce Apr. 26-29 at the Flato Markham Theatre. Visit markhamlittletheatre.ca for details.
Photo: Cast (L to R) Ali Adatia, Hayley Ferguson, Harry Hochman, Marlene Foran, Mark Boyko, Kate O’Hearn, Wesley Chalmers, Lisa Meers.